One of the best first steps to assessing the energy
efficiency of your home is a home
energy audit. An audit can be done by a professional for the most
complete evaluation. However, a thorough do-it-yourself audit can also identify
key problem areas without the cost. In this blog, we will cover the ins
and outs of do-it-yourself home energy audits.
Although you most likely won’t have the tools or the
know-how to perform the same, exact assessment as a professional auditor,
tackling a successful DIY home energy audit is certainly possible. A diligent walk-through
can provide value in determining areas to prioritize and address in your home’s
energy efficiency. Don’t assume the age of your home is going to impact the
outcome of an audit, nor that because you may have a new or newer build, there
is no room for improvement. Sometimes, small adjustments can produce big
Preparing for a DIY
Home Energy Audit:
list – When walking through your home, keep a checklist of what you have
inspected and what needs to be fixed.
air leaks – Check for indoor and outdoor leaks, such as gaps around
windows, doors, trim, baseboard, recessed light fixtures, ceiling junctures,
electrical outlets, fireplace dampers and plumbing fixtures. Most air leaks are
an easy fix with caulk
Be sure to think about ventilation when sealing leaks. Learn more about it, here.
insulation – If your home has insufficient insulation,
the heat loss through the ceiling and walls could be significant. Although the
insulation in your attic may be easy to view, the level of insulation in a wall
is more difficult. One option is to select an exterior wall with an outlet. Be
sure to turn off the circuit breaker or unscrew the fuse for any outlets in the
wall. Test the outlet by plugging in and turning on a lamp or other device to
ensure there is no power going to it. Remove the cover plate and gently probe
into the wall with a long, thin stick or screwdriver. If you encounter slight
resistance, you have insulation.
your lighting – When doing your walk-through, note the types of light bulbs
in your home. Consider replacing inefficient bulbs with energy-saving
incandescents, LEDs, or compact fluorescent lamps. Lighting accounts for about
10% of your electric bill. Small changes can make a big impact.
your electronics and appliances – How you use appliances and devices, and
the types you have, significantly impact your energy use. You can estimate the
use of your appliances here
once you examine them. A few ideas for increasing energy efficiency is this
Adjusting settings or using the item less often
Unplugging electronics when not in use
Upgrading to new, energy efficient products
heating and cooling equipment – HVAC equipment should be inspected
annually, or as suggested by the manufacturer. Check the filters and replace
them at the recommended cadence and have a professional clean your equipment
once a year. Check your duct system. Streaks of dirt near the seams indicate an
air leak and should be sealed. Ducts or
pipes running through unheated spaces should be insulated using an insulation
with an R-Value
of at least 6.
plan – Once you’ve walked through your home and made your list, consider
Where are your greatest energy losses?
How much money do you spend on energy?
How long do you plan to own your home?
How long will it take for an investment in
energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings?
Will making upgrades provide additional benefits
beyond that of the energy savings? (For
example: convenience of controlling your
thermostat on your smartphone)
Can you make the updates yourself, or do you
need to hire someone to do them?
What is your budget?
what should or can be upgraded – Now that you’ve completed your assessment
and prioritized what issues may need to be addressed, determine what should and
can be done to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Where Can I Find
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